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Fat Solitary Goldfish


mkeith

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I have a goldfish that is getting plump kind of suddenly, and I'm wondering if it is a female about to spawn, or getting sick or ???

A friend gave me the fish about 9 months ago. It was in a 10 gallon tank. He told me the fish was 6 years old. It was about 5 inches long. I moved the fish into a 20 gallon tank (I cycled the tank before adding the fish). Since then, the fish has grown quite a bit. It may have started life as a feeder. It looks like a very generic goldfish. Not fancy at all, and quite a good swimmer (no double tail or bubble eyes or anything like that).

Like I said, it has suddenly plumped up pretty dramatically, but apart from that I don't see any behavior change. The fish forages actively all the time, sucking up sand, debris, plants, and snails. (The tank has hornwort, duckweed, and some annoying green algae). I feed dry flakes, but there is no buoyancy problem. Shortly before the plumping up I did try feeding the fish a lot less to see if it would eat more hornwort (it did) but I wouldn't think that would cause it to plump up. The hornwort has been there all along.

So anyway, I THINK the fish is OK. But the sudden round look has me worried.

Let me know what you think. And if it is a female about to spawn, is there any health issue for her since she is alone? I don't know where to find a grown up male, and I'm not sure I want two GF in a 20 gallon tank. (Might have to dig a pond or get a big tank).

best regards,

mkeith

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hi mkeith,

welcome to koko's.. wow, that's one mighty growth spurt.. it's amazing what extra space can do.. females sometimes fill with eggs and sometimes do not release them too.. what have her poops looked like, have you seen any long zig zagy poops busting to say goodmorning to you?

if you are concerned that she may be eggbound, you may want to try and feed her some unsalted cooked peas out of their shells. you can boil a couple up in some tank water on the stove or in the microwave for 20 seconds.. once done and cooled, just pinch the pea gently and the pea should just pop out from it's jacket.. then you can just feed her with them. peas is like a laxative for them.

any pics? perhaps we should see a few pics of her incase we notice anything else.. a birdseye view would be good and also some pics of her eyes either side.

how are her scales? flat to the body or poking out at all?

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welcome!

it seems you are taking great care of the fish.

It could def be eggs because it seems that these past few weeks a lot of females have spawned. 2/3 of mine are full of eggs. :)

Like Helen said, just make sure that no scales are sticking out or that the has any other unusual signs. peas work very well. you should look out for poops like this:

DSCN4047.jpg

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welcome!

it seems you are taking great care of the fish.

It could def be eggs because it seems that these past few weeks a lot of females have spawned. 2/3 of mine are full of eggs. :)

Like Helen said, just make sure that no scales are sticking out or that the has any other unusual signs. peas work very well. you should look out for poops like this:

DSCN4047.jpg

Thanks for the reply! The poops look like pretty solid tubes. When she (I'm going to assume she is female) eats lots of flakes, they are kind of reddish like the flakes. When I cut back a bit, the color changed to a more brownish shade, but they looked the same otherwise. I assume the color change was due to her eating more of the plants.

Scales seem flat against the body.

--mkeith

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hi mkeith,

welcome to koko's.. wow, that's one mighty growth spurt.. it's amazing what extra space can do.. females sometimes fill with eggs and sometimes do not release them too.. what have her poops looked like, have you seen any long zig zagy poops busting to say goodmorning to you?

if you are concerned that she may be eggbound, you may want to try and feed her some unsalted cooked peas out of their shells. you can boil a couple up in some tank water on the stove or in the microwave for 20 seconds.. once done and cooled, just pinch the pea gently and the pea should just pop out from it's jacket.. then you can just feed her with them. peas is like a laxative for them.

any pics? perhaps we should see a few pics of her incase we notice anything else.. a birdseye view would be good and also some pics of her eyes either side.

how are her scales? flat to the body or poking out at all?

Thanks for the reply.

I'll try to get some pictures. But the glass has a lot of algae on it, and there is some green thread algae in the hornwort. So I am slightly embarrassed by it all. ;-) I think the water quality is OK. Lot's of light on the tank, which helps suck up nitrogen.

--mkeith

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Oh, no need to be embarrassed over algae. At least it seems to be green and not the nasty brown stuff that my tank gets covered in every once in a while.

Does your fish have tiny white dots on the gills and pectoral fins? If so, it is a boy. If not, it is most likely a girl :)

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hi mkieth. Welcome! :hi It sounds like your fish is getting excellent care, all that fibre and roughage and vitamins like a salad bar round her tank. These are some of the healthiest tank environments.

Perhaps she is having a growth spurt. I wouldn't think disease since the poop and behavior are good/normal.

A fish that is impacted or blocked with eggs will release eggs that are of a solid jelly like substance which is opague. The poop is in a definate zigzag line when it is released.

If you have not seen poop like that (or no poop which is normal prior to the release of eggpoop) then I doubt your fish is eggbound.

What are your nitrates? And what is your water changing schedule? Bloat can be caused by a build up of organics in the water and a very large water change can often reduce this to the point where the fish can osmote gases more easily and efficiently de-swelling them.

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Could you please post some pics?

Nitrates are about 40 ppm according to dip strip. The strip shows that as being on the high side of safe, but I would trust you guys more than the test strip.

I don't change water too often, but the top inch of the tank is solid with hornwort, and I have 20 Watts of fluorescent light on for 14 hours per day. There are live snails in the tank. My theory is that the plants should keep the nitrate under control. I used to check it often, nowadays not so much.

The water is hard and slightly alkaline. I don't keep track of the temp, but it is mid to high sixties, Fahrenheit.

My camera battery ran out, but I got three pictures which, I guess, are useable. I'll try to get better pictures after the camera battery recharges.

IMG_3283.jpg

IMG_3278.jpg

IMG_3284.jpg

--mkeith

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aside from the fish looking bloated, i do notice her scales are as they should be. so all good there :) i have observed your pictures and i post below one of them with two points outlined.. plesae explain if what i am seeing is normal to the fish or have they recently appeared?

FatSolitaryGoldfish.jpg

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aside from the fish looking bloated, i do notice her scales are as they should be. so all good there :) i have observed your pictures and i post below one of them with two points outlined.. plesae explain if what i am seeing is normal to the fish or have they recently appeared?

FatSolitaryGoldfish.jpg

The red patch is normal, or at least it has been there for a long time (you have good eyes, or maybe a good monitor). I'm not sure about the eye sticking out. I will make some more careful observations to see if it really is sticking out or if there is just something misleading in the picture.

What would a red patch possibly indicate, if it had recently appeared?

So she is not about to spawn? She is probably just bloated? I will research that topic (starting with epsom salts and perhaps peas) to see what might help with that. Feel free to post a link to any useful information you have if it is handy. Meanwhile I'll go read some FAQ's and whatnot.

Thanks so much!

--mkeith

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if you are sure that the red patch has always been there, then that's fine.. i was trying to determine as the whole pic to me is red as to wether there may have been some high ammonia in the tank and if that patch is actually more black than red as a result from ammonia burn..

i pointed out the eye, because to me, it appears a little more stuck out than what i see in normal fish. which could explain the bloating both being a result of an internal bacterial infection. i could not see clear enough in pic two if your fish has a round ring around her eye that looks like a sack of fluid.

has your camera charged? are you able to place her in a clear bowl, away from the tank in hope of some clearer pictures? i would recommend against any form of medication right now until we can determine if or what problem she may have.

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if you are sure that the red patch has always been there, then that's fine.. i was trying to determine as the whole pic to me is red as to wether there may have been some high ammonia in the tank and if that patch is actually more black than red as a result from ammonia burn..

i pointed out the eye, because to me, it appears a little more stuck out than what i see in normal fish. which could explain the bloating both being a result of an internal bacterial infection. i could not see clear enough in pic two if your fish has a round ring around her eye that looks like a sack of fluid.

has your camera charged? are you able to place her in a clear bowl, away from the tank in hope of some clearer pictures? i would recommend against any form of medication right now until we can determine if or what problem she may have.

It's night time now. I'll do it in the morning (there are other people sleeping in the house). She has been like this for a couple of days, and she is acting normal, so I don't think I will go into emergency mode.

How small of a container can I put her in for a quick picture or two? I think she is about 6 inches (hard to measure) And what is the best way to transfer her without traumatizing her? And would she be likely to jump out of a small container? I have only transferred her once before, and I think I traumatized her a bit. I basically corralled her into a bowl with my hand, then covered the top of the bowl until I could dump her in the new tank. She thrashed the whole time, and I'm sure she would have ended up on the floor if I hadn't covered the top of the bowl.

Sorry for all the questions. I'm very grateful for your help and interest.

--mkeith

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okay, yes, the best thing is to scoop her up in a bowl.. but no need to use your hands.. make it a clear bowl, don't go chasing her, she most likely will come to you.. manuver the bowl so that she cannot get out when she makes attempts but nothing too sudden.. it may take one or two relaxed attempts, but you should be fine.. if you chase her around with the bowl, she will never settle. the bowl needs to be big enough in diameter, not so much height.. and clear or white..

tomorrow is fine.. she's eating and behaving normal, then that's a great sign.. rest up and speak to you then.

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I think this problem is more related to the build up of organics you are getting in the tank because of the non frequent water changes. the issue with only testing parameters is that you don't know how much bad bacteria is building up etc. this is why (even if your params are perfect) it is best to do a 50% water change weekly. since you have substrate is it even more important. you really need to go in there and syphon the substrate well. otherwise you get organic buildup and airpockets which lead to such illnesses as bloat/dropsy.

I wouldn't put any epson until you have given the tank a good clean down.

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okay, yes, the best thing is to scoop her up in a bowl.. but no need to use your hands.. make it a clear bowl, don't go chasing her, she most likely will come to you.. manuver the bowl so that she cannot get out when she makes attempts but nothing too sudden.. it may take one or two relaxed attempts, but you should be fine.. if you chase her around with the bowl, she will never settle. the bowl needs to be big enough in diameter, not so much height.. and clear or white..

tomorrow is fine.. she's eating and behaving normal, then that's a great sign.. rest up and speak to you then.

OK, you make it sound easy.

Ammonia is OK (none detected). I took some more pictures in the tank, and now I'm trying to move her into a bowl. Her eyes definitely do stick out. That was not an optical illusion. I can't say I've ever noticed it before. Maybe they have been like that all along. I'm just not sure. To me, her eyes don't look different, but like I said, I'm not sure.

The tank is absolutely loaded with organic material. Since she is constantly tugging at the hornowort, and ripping it to shreds, little bits and pieces accumulate. The substrate is play-sand over soil. There are also some lanscaping marble chips. At one time, I had rooted plants in it, but she ripped them all out, so I stick to floating plants now. I don't think you can just stick plants into soil in a GF tank without taking special measures.

Realistically, I don't think I will be doing 50% water change once a week. To tell the truth, she doesn't look too happy when I start siphoning out water, and if I take out 10 gallons, there is almost no room for her to swim (because of the floating plants). I can do several smaller water changes this weekend to see if things get better. There should be no harm in that, no matter what is wrong with her, right? And I can take various measures to try to stay on top of the debris (maybe I'll buy a net to scoop it out with, and try to do a 20% once per week).

My other issue is that the tap water here is pretty soft. So if I constantly flush the tank water out and replace it with tap water, it doesn't have time to harden up very much (from the marble). Not sure how much that matters. (Note: My city uses chloramines and fluoride, so I filter the tap water to remove chloramines and fluoride before I put it into the tank).

Here are the newer pictures:

IMG_3278.jpg

IMG_3336.jpg

IMG_3334.jpg

IMG_3333.jpg

IMG_3332.jpg

IMG_3309.jpg

IMG_3304.jpg

IMG_3297.jpg

There are a couple more in the same album (http://s1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc412/M_R_Keith/apples/)

--mkeith

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when i say organics i don't mean plants and good things. I mean decaying food, poop, etc.

unfortunately goldfish are very dirty fish as they have no stomach - so doing a weekly water change is necessary. you just need to add some crushed coral in your filter for the soft water problem.

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How big is your tank?

20 gallons, which is about 75 liters, I guess. The fish is maybe 6 inches, which is about 150mm. Not sure whether we are on the metric system here on Koko's forum.

--mkeith

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okay.. her eyes look normal to me.. so, if that's the case and the scales are fine.. then she could be eggbound and we have to deal with either getting her to release them or reabsorbing them. have you felt if her tummy is mushy or firm?

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okay.. her eyes look normal to me.. so, if that's the case and the scales are fine.. then she could be eggbound and we have to deal with either getting her to release them or reabsorbing them. have you felt if her tummy is mushy or firm?

I will see if I can do that without freaking her out. But I have never tried to touch her before, so I don't know what will happen. By the way, if you can give me some kind of description of how hard or soft you mean, that might help.

--mkeith

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okay.. her eyes look normal to me.. so, if that's the case and the scales are fine.. then she could be eggbound and we have to deal with either getting her to release them or reabsorbing them. have you felt if her tummy is mushy or firm?

I will see if I can do that without freaking her out. But I have never tried to touch her before, so I don't know what will happen. By the way, if you can give me some kind of description of how hard or soft you mean, that might help.

--mkeith

OK, that didn't go well. She is totally freaked out by my hand being in the aquarium with her. She acts exactly like a prey animal trying to escape a predator.

So, any tips would be appreciated.

By the way, I have been going after the "organics," and there is a lot less undesireable junk in the tank now. Mainly it was plant debris, I guess. Probably there was fish poop mixed up in it, but it was hard to see it. Anyway, I'm getting rid of all that stuff by doing frequent siphonings.

--mkeith

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